When we first meet James, he talks with his parents about moving to New York City where “the tallest building in the world” is. But why New York specifically? I think it is more than the fact that America is a land representing freedom and possibilities. It is the metropolis of new beginnings. People from all over the world went/go to New York to create new lives for themselves. In the movie, this great city holds both the idea of freedom and the opportunity for a new life for James.
Also at the beginning of the film, “an angry rhinoceros…gobbled up [James’s] poor mother and father”. A rhino seems like a random creature to appear out of the clouds and eat two people… However, the rhino symbolizes that things may not be as they seem. The rhino distracts James from what is really happening in his life. His fear of the rhino represents his fear of leaving his aunts. He may want to leave, but he needs something to help him and the rhino distracts him.
To counteract this sense of entrapment, the giant peach appears. Peaches and peach trees symbolize life and longevity. Therefore, the peach appeared to give James the ability to leave his “miserable” life and pursue something bigger and better.
Next, Miss Spider (Susan Sarandon) represents protection, resourcefulness, and rebirth. She is very protective of James, uses her webs for to help in many ways, and calls James to dinner in the end representing his new life.
Miss Ladybug (Jane Leeves) also represents protection, but she also means love. She protects James from the flying mechanical shark babies and tries to keep everyone alive and happy on the ship. She is not only protective of James, but she also looks out for the entire group.
Earthworm (David Thewlis) is one of the meekest characters in this movie and this world. He lets us know we should not underestimate ourselves or others. Even the smallest creature could be a great force. If Earthworm had not been on the peach, they could not have attracted the seagulls enabling them to travel faster and safer; he is essential to their survival.
Centipede (Richard Dreyfuss) represents a chief or great leader. While this character fails from time to time, ultimately he is a huge reason they make it to New York. If he had not fought off the “pirates”, the group never would have had a compass to lead their way.
Glowworm (Mariam Margolyes) symbolizes a character’s inner light, hopes, and dreams. While Glowworm does not play a tremendous role in helping James pursue his dreams, she is a part of the team that helps him get to New York.
The mechanical shark shows-up right when James starts doubting his ideas. Sharks symbolize instinct, power, and innovation. Therefore, James’s idea of capturing the birds to fly away is actually a fantastic idea that works even though he second-guesses himself at first.
The rhino returning in the end means James is overcoming his obstacles. He was afraid, but he chose to “look at it another way”. Because he faced the rhino and overcame it, he achieves a happy life in New York with his new friends.
Therefore, although each piece in this crazy movie may appear random, all of the giant bugs, animals, and fruit actually fit into the storyline of the movie to represent what James is working though and how he achieves his dream.
So I am not as familiar with Dante’s Inferno as I know I should be, but there is an interesting idea that James is actually going through hell in this film Interesting…
Some other tropes and idioms from the film and book!
Thanks for reading!!! See you next week!